Thursday, February 24, 2011

My "new" furniture

Oh hi there, blog! Sorry for being so neglectful lately- I had a couple of weeks without internet at the apartment, and now that I'm not a grad student anymore I can't spend time at work posting pictures of furniture to my blog. So onwards to the furniture- I needed some, and I just couldn't bring myself to make yet another trip to Ikea. Inexpensive tea lights and tasty meatballs be damned, I've become something of a hater. However, I couldn't bring myself to spend thousands of dollars at a proper furniture store either, and the few cheap ones I found also sell items that require assembly. Do I make my own sandwich at the deli? No. When I spend money, I want the finished product. I lucked out and saw an ad for a sofa and a refrigerator on the bulletin at work, so I hired a man with a van and snapped those goodies up. Those were the only essentials, so I had a little more time and thought to put into items. I asked around at work on where to buy inexpensive furniture that isn't Ikea, and a coworker recommended a shop called Furniture Revisited. It was perfect! I feel like I won the used furniture lottery. My main goal was to find a dining table and chairs, ideally one that sat four but could be expanded to fit six, and they had exactly such a set in the shop. I told the owner that I would buy them, and since it was a fairly substantial item, I bargained down the price of a couple more items I was interested in, namely, a cute coffee table with a tiled top and The Most Awesome Chair in the World (which was the only brand new item I bought). Best of all, Dieter the shopkeeper delivered it all the next day for $25. Behold my furnishings!

Am I really becoming the type of person who gets excited about furniture? Yikes. Whatever, I still love that chair.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More movies

A nearby movie theater does $7 Mondays (as opposed to the $18 it normally costs to see at movie in Australia), so I've been catching up on the end of 2010 releases lately, just in time for Oscar season. Here's what I've seen lately:

Black Swan stars Nataline Portman as a young ballet dancer who wins her dream role as the lead in Swan Lake, but unravels under the pressure of playing both the innocent white swan and the sultry black swan. I thought it was creative and compelling and an excellent film overall. It's certainly not your typical dance movie and is essentially a dark psychological thriller. Highly recommended!

Blue Valentine is a brutal movie about the end of love, starting Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. We see both the beginning of their relationship, when they meet and fall in love, and the bitter end, as it becomes obvious that their marriage just isn't going to last. It's realistic and depressing as hell. Although I think Natalie Portman is a shoe-in for the Best Actress Oscar, I actually believe Michelle Williams would be a more worthy recipient, as she gave a completely believable performance of a character with real depth, both as a troubled teenage girl and an unhappy woman drowning in a failed marriage. All Natalie had to do was lose a lot of weight and act scared.

The Fighter- Sports movies and gritty Massachusetts families have been done before, but The Fighter turns a premise that could have been a cliche into a fresh and fantastic movie. Set in Lowell in the 1980s, Mark Wahlberg plays a Micky Ward, a boxer making a final run for the title and eager to step out of the shadow of his older brother Dicky, who rose to fame by knocking out Sugar Ray Leonard but now spends most of his time at a crack house. The casting was spot-on, and Christan Bale absolutely shines as Dicky. Kudos as well for being one of the few movies where the Boston accents sound realistic. I loved it- if you haven't seen it, go!

True Grit- I've always had a penchant for westerns, and when I heard that the Coen brothers were doing a remake of an old John Wayne film, I had high hopes. I was not disappointed- True Grit is great! Hailee Steinfeld stars as 14 year old Maddie Ross, who hires two lawmen to help her track down her father's murderer. Jeff Bridges provides the grit, and Matt Damon assists as the less gritty and more talkative Texas ranger. True Grit feels like an adventure story, full of wonderful dialogue, tense action, and beautiful scenery. Loved it! You know, I thought that 2010 was a weak year for movies, but Black Swan, The Fighter, and True Grit changed my mind.

Speaking of the Oscars, Kris' annual Oscar contest is up and running, and the prizes are SPECTACULAR...check it out for yourself!

Lastly, did everyone catch the triumphant return of Wayne and Garth on Saturday Night Live? I'll have you know that they totally stole my Winter's Bone joke. No lie, just ask Kelly McMahon.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Weekend in Daylesford

Last week, my friend Sofie texted me to see if I wanted to go to Daylesford for the weekend.
me: What's Daylesford?
Sofie: It's known for spas and wineries
me: YES

and away we went. We started off the weekend with a trip to the spa for massages- unexpectedly, mine was given by a large Australian man with a ponytail who may have seen my buttcrack. After that, a trip to the wineries, where we sampled the goods and met a pair of dogs who lead a double life as cover models. Daylesford is one of those small country towns frequented by tourists from the city who use antiquing as a verb. These people love their doilies. I can no longer judge, as I fully admit to purchasing some decorative pillows and hanging out in our hotel's sitting room, oddly reminiscent of my grandmother's parlor. The rest of Saturday night consisted of a delicious dinner, an inadvertent trip to a lesbian bar, and ended with us getting shooed out of the bowls club at closing time.
On Sunday, we checked out more of the local sites, hiked to a disappointing lookout, and drove to a better lookout. We also met a baker who showed us her Boston Buns. All in all, it was a very relaxing weekend and a nice trip to an area of Victoria I hadn't seen before.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011


I'm sorry, I know you shouldn't joke about tyrannical regimes that cause the suffering of millions of people, but whoever came up with Kim Jong-Il Looking At Things is a comedy genius.

Update: this must be something of a trend. There's a similar blog for Vladimir Putin, who sometimes does more than just look at things.

It's been a running joke among some of my friends that I have the tendency to buy flights when the prices reach their absolute peak, and as soon as I book mine, all prices drop. Like when we all met up in Hawaii one year and I paid $1100 and everyone else's flights spent like $450. I've improved my track record in recent years, but I still found this WSJ article on when airline prices are lowest handy.